Johnny Mathis—still performing at 87

Note Corrected Date!

The Cranston Herald ·

“Hello, Don. Johnny Mathis here.”

That smooth, sublime voice I so vividly remember from all the way back to the seventies was calling from California to talk about his September 23 concert at the Providence Performing Arts Center.

“I love Providence,” there’s nothing I don’t like about Rhode Island,’ the 87-year-old singer who has performed and lived all over the world said.

We reminisced about his appearances at the Warwick Musical Theatre and his friendship with Buster Bonoff, who booked and befriended him, had a chair at the Golden Lantern restaurant in Warwick with his name on it, and played golf with him before his concerts. Mathis has made seven holes in one over his many years on the golf course.

“My dad sang, and when I was very young, he taught me how to sing,” Johnny said. “I have the nicest memories of my dad.”

Johnny grew up in Texas, one of seven children.

Johnny’s memories revolved around people he had met and places he had visited all over the world.

“Whenever I was in New England, I would get together with Bill Russell. He was a big part of my life.”

“I have been so fortunate to have traveled all over the world. I’ve also lived for a time in Germany, Italy and Spain. They know my music all over Europe.”

“I’m flattered that so many performers have recorded my music.”

Mathis will perform at the Providence Performing Arts Center on September 23 at 8:00 p.m. after flying around the country, bringing his music to people in California, New York, Tennessee, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Illinois. While usually performing with a full orchestra, he has four musicians who always travel with him.

Mathis still loves to perform, spacing out his appearances and keeping in shape by going to the gym and exercising 45 minutes every day.

“I’ve always been an athlete. It’s always been a big part of my life. I held some records in the high jump. Singing is like athletics. You must prepare and stay in good shape.”

Mathis signed with Columbia records when he was 18 years old and has always stayed with them. He has had 73 albums on the Billboard charts, making him the 3rd best-selling artist ever, with over 360 million records sold.

I’ll be there to see this incredible man who is in his 67th year of recording music and performing it around the world.

“Chances Are” his music was playing when Joyce and I were parking at West Hill Pond. I still get “Misty” reminiscing about those days and the “Wonderful, Wonderful” songs of Johnny Mathis.

“It’s Not For Me To Say”, but to me, his music will also be at the top of the charts.

As an octogenarian, Johnny Mathis is aware that young people are listening to different music today than songs like “Misty”, “Chances Are” and” It’s Not For Me To Say”.

“Most people (At my concerts) are pretty well along in age, but I do see some younger people in the audience,” he said.

Tickets prices are between $39 and $129. All ticket prices include a $4 per ticket restoration charge. Call 421-ARTS.

This story was originally posted by The Cranston Herald. Click here to view the original story in its entirety.